It is not often that men consider the lot of beings lesser to them.
At their peril they discount the very idea these creatures may hold knowledge they themselves lack the capacity to comprehend.
A humble fly, a pest, a spreader of disease and pestilence, the worst kind of vermin. Reviled and exterminated whenever possible. Yet even now, thousands of their number were being drawn to a place, plain to see were the night not so dark under the clouds of the coming storm, where lay one who the givers of law so fervently sought.
She lay not alone, for within the steady and dispassionate circle of light cast by the electric lamp above stood her killer and no single emotion marred his placid face.
Her remains were not fair to see. Even discounting dirt and blood, the signs of hard use by hand and blade were upon her cold flesh. Had her spirit lingered, as perhaps it did, she would have witnessed the true wakening of that which had slept for long ages past.
Her killer spoke, though to whom it could not be said for he was alone in that lighted circle with only the departed dead.
Had her eyes still seen, as indeed from beyond they might, she would have seen the shaking of his hands, the primal fear belied by his dead eyes and unmoving expression as the blade which had stolen her life was drawn once more from its hiding place upon his person.
Had she been able to hear, and in truth she must have as all the dead do when they are spoken of, bitter would have been her tears to hear his stumbling words of supplication. No laments for her forgiveness, not entreaties to stave her wrath, none even to wish her a graceful rest in the life beyond. No, only worshipful mutterings in some ancient and nonsensical tongue passed his lips.
Up came the blade, and well may she have run, remembering its deadly touch. To heart, to lips he held it, swearing that which should never be sworn. Stillness, absolute and infinite settled. No creature born of night dared give voice. Even the masses of flies stilled, their innumerable wings held as a man would hold his breath.
On and on he spoke, making promises and bartering the tangible and intangible essences of his being and hers to the silence… until…
No sound changed, no great lights broke in the sky, no flicker marred the heartlessly efficient circle of light, no shadow moved, and yet within the circle he stood alone no more.
Eyes were on him, older and darker than those of his departed victim, unseen but felt unto the dregs of his soul. Smells assaulted his nostrils, rain, smoke, fresh turned earth… and blood.
He knew what he had woken, primal and ancient, born of the sacred blade first christened by his own willing blood… and then the blood of prey.
Twice before and now, the final time, he’d heeded the whispers seeping from the shadows, their promises ambrosia to an ashen heart. He felt no remorse for he was pure, and he was blameless. He’d hunted and sacrificed as was demanded, as men had done since the first days, no crime at all compared to what was to be gained.
From the first it had shielded him, showing him what paths to walk, where to sleep and when to flee, and when to take his prey all unawares. The givers of men’s laws were far from him, walking different paths and serving different powers. They could not touch him.
He shuddered as that which he had woken regarded him, coldly assessing its servant.
He’d sworn, he’d sacrificed, yet even now his acceptance into its embrace was not assured. It would brook no weakness, no frailties, no hesitation.
Moments wore on. Each a searing eternity under its scrutiny…
And then it spoke for only him to hear
Lightning split the black sky and all sound returned in a rushing wave, the legion of flies burst their ranks asunder even as glass rained from the shattered lamp. They would not touch this meat, this prey. It belonged to the oldest of things now, woken from its slumber and returned to a world it had long since abandoned.
(Written to set the scene and tone for my main antagonist)
And in the darkness as the first rain fell, he laughed.